Monday, February 27, 2006

The Soldier is a Drama Queen

This past weekend has been "interesting" for us all. That is why I cannot imagine living in Calgary, Canada, despite all the urging and hints from my family, because NOTHING ever happens there. In the Philippines, soldiers are drama queens and the best television isn't just 'reality' television but 'hyperreality' television; with all of our lives at stake. Can you beat that?

I can't make heads or tails of what just happened and what my own reactions are for the time being. I am neither indignant (as many middle class folks are) nor pessismistic (as many academics are). What I am is entertained.

First, what's in a Name? Ariel is a hebrew name meaning "lion of God" or "victorious under God." Querubin is a Spanish word having a Hebrew etymology meaning "Chariot of God" or "Seat of God."

Is it any wonder he has strong messianic tendencies encouraged by the kind of messianic, if misogynist, education he has had at the PMA? He has the name for waging wars and winning them righteously, but unfortunately or fortunately, not the balls.

Second, and I've been saying this since the Hello Garci fiasco, GMA is a wiley, calculating, brilliant woman to have hired an excellent crisis management team. I'm wondering who these folks are, and how many of them have been former professors of mine...Anywho, these folks have done an excellent job. They've learned from the past few EDSAs about the role of the media and people massing on the streets. Kudos to you guys for being excellent practicioners.

Third, we are all exhibitionists and voyeurs. In the age of instantaneous broadcast, of images and information on-demand, we are all acutely aware of all our actions and how others might react to them. This past week-end it felt a little bit like Pinoy Big Brother, all these cameras trained on the characters on our screens altered what they did and said and how they acted. In an age of representation, of no time for reflection, is it any wonder these folks were predictably...their stereotypical selves? The disgruntled soldiers went coup-coup crazy, the middle-forces rolled their eyeballs, militants went a-marching and flag-waving, the media went overkill and the 'market', whatever that is and whoever they are, reacted accordingly.

If we want revolution, then we want radical changes. And when I say radical, I don't mean the flag-waving and chanting kind (If anything, their courses of action are as outdated as their ideology). We need changes that will rend our society apart and re-order everything we know and forcibly mutate them into something new and hopefully better.

EDSA People power is the first in the long wave of democratization in the late 80s; appropriate time, ripe context. We showed the world how to overthrow a useless (and I say this because he failed to be developmental) authoritarian leader without a single drop of blood shed. Well and good! But let us leave it in the annals of history as a short and sweet moment of glory.

Today, EDSA People power is no longer "revolutionary." It has become as predictable as Kris Aquino's lipo sessions. It has become good entertainment, excellent television.

Time for a change folks. Time for new kinds of revolutions.

Podcasts 8-11: Fort Bonifacio Soundbytes

Podcast 8
February 26 8:15pm
La Sallian brothers and nuns pray in front of Marine HQ.
Who is Col. Querubin?

Listen to this podcast here.

Podcast 9
February 26 8:30 pm
Sec. Defensor on behalf of the Palace: "Wala po tayo'ng dapat ipangamba (We have nothing to worry about)."

NEDA Secretary Romulo Neri: "We are appealing to all elements of think about the interests of the country..."

AFP Chief of Staff General Generoso Senga: "Ito naman ay...a matter that is internal to the AFP...Mukhang sinasamantala ang nangyayari sa Marines...upang gamitin sa ibang agenda..."

Former President Cory Aquino:"There are specific instructions not to let me go inside..."

Listen to this podcast here.

Podcast 10
February 26 8:45 pm
Acting Marine Commandant (and Gen. Miranda replacement) Gen. Allaga and Col. Querubin talk.

General Senga: "Matagal na nating ini-aangat ang level of professionalism ng ating AFP...Please help us resolve this matter peacefully, please leave us alone..."

Certain civilian "observers" are bodily taken off the premises of Gate 8 near Marine HQ.

Former Vice-President Teofisto Guingona: "Andito na kami. Wala namang kaming ginagawang masama...bakit ba pinipigilan ang karapatan namin?...."

Listen to this podcast here.

Podcast 11
Feb. 26 10pm
Gen. Allaga finally addresses the press on the 'resolution' of the crisis. Col. Querubin, next to him, is mum but visibly upset.

Gen. Allaga: "We will follow the chain of command....Hindi na namin level yon, wala kaming pakialam sa mga politicians...Asahan n'yong buo ang Marines...hindi kami magpapagamit..."

Listen to this podcast here.

Podcast 7: Fort Bonifacio Soundbytes

Podcast 7: February 26, 2006 8pm. Marines hole up in Fort Bonifacio. Chief of Staff Mike Defensor puts the Malacanang spin. Former President Cory Aquino on the way to the Marines HQ. Click here.

I've 4 more podcasts I've yet to edit and post. We still don't have our phonelines. I'm off to run errands and then see what's going in UPD. Abangan ang susunod na kabanata...

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Podcasts 5 and 6: EDSA Soundbytes

Soundbytes from Channels 2 and 7 on February 24, 2006. Recorded around noontime, minutes after President Arroyo declares State of National Emergency.

Podcast 5: Live coverage, news anchors from Channels 2 and 7. Phone-in interview of Senate President Franklin Drilon. Listen to this podcast here.

Podcast 6: Phone-in interview of House minority leader (and uber hottie) Chiz Escudero. Listen to this podcast here.

Enjoy :)

Friday, February 24, 2006

Trouble on the Avenue

I woke up at 6 o'clock this morning and went about my daily routine. Pee, instant coffee, read the paper while pooping. After my shower I usually tune in on Unang Hirit or Breakfast Supersize while getting ready for school. At about 7am Arnold Clavio says the CHED has declared no classes in all levels within Metro Manila. I immediately knew something was up.

Early this morning Channel 7 was airing live feed of armored vehicles traversing EDSA. The news crew tailed the convoy until they entered Camp Aguinaldo gates without any trouble. The news anchors were understandably speculating whether these were 'friendly' or 'hostile' to the government. Turns out they were extra protection from Tarlac.

I went to try and get online and see how the blogosphere and international news wire was reacting. But our landlines are dead. This isn't necessarily out of ordinary, we've had disruption of service for no reason before. But what a strange day for our lines to be out today. So here I am blogging from an internet cafe.

At around 9am there was a lull. Channel 2 at this time was the lone TV station covering the unfolding events from 8 onwards. The President was expected to air a statement at around 9 and the anchors Korina Sanchez and Ted Failon hung on 'til 11, but still no news from Malacanang. Channel 2 went back to regular programming for about an hour.

At noontime, the President went on air and declared a State of National Emergency in response to a failed coup attempt by certain factions of the military and the supposed threat to State security. Chief of Staff Mike Defensor was interviewed later and explained what they meant by "State of National Emergency." He said warantless arrest may be made, all permits to rally on this day, the EDSA revolution's 20th anniversary, are revoked and public utilities may be taken over by government should there be clear and present danger.

The images on the tube are that of uniformed men dispersing rallyists at the EDSA shrine. Understandably, we are all concerned.

When I woke up today, I knew something was up. I texted my friend Luisa "I've a feeling something's gonna happen today. There's electricity in the air." She responded, "Is it good or bad?" I replied, "Good for some, bad for others, but exciting for all."

Don't you love it here? :)


Proclamation 1017 courtesy of


WHEREAS, over these past months, elements in the political opposition have conspired with authoritarians of the extreme Left represented by the NDF-CPP-NPA and the extreme Right, represented by military adventurists--the historical enemies of the democratic Philippine
State—who are now in tactical alliance and engaged in a concerted and systematic conspiracy, over a broad front, to bring down the duly constituted Government elected in May 2004.

WHEREAS, these conspirators have repeatedly tried to bring down the President;

WHEREAS, the claims of these elements have been recklessly magnified by certain segments of the national media;

WHEREAS, this series of actions is hurting the Philippine State--by obstructing governance including hindering the growth of the economy and sabotaging the people’s confidence in government and their faith in the future of this country;

WHEREAS, these actions are adversely affecting the economy;

WHEREAS, these activities give totalitarian forces of both the extreme Left and extreme Right the opening to intensity their avowed aims to bring down the democratic Philippine State;

WHEREAS, Article 2, Section 4 of our Constitution makes the defense and preservation of the democratic institutions and the State the primary duty of Government;

WHEREAS, the activities above-described, their consequences, ramifications and collateral
effects constitute a clear and present danger to the safety and the integrity of
the Philippine State and of the Filipino people;

NOW, THEREFORE, I Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, President of the Republic of the Philippines and
Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested upon me by Section 18, Article 7 of the Philippine Constitution which states that: “ The President…whenever it becomes necessary,…may call out (the) armed forces to prevent or suppress…rebellion…, “ and in my capacity as their Commander-in-Chief, do hereby command the Armed Forces of the Philippines,
to maintain law and order throughout the Philippines, prevent or suppress all forms of lawless violence as well any act of insurrection or rebellion and to enforce obedience to all the laws and to all decrees, orders and regulations promulgated by me personally or upon my direction; and as provided in Section
17, Article 12 of the Constitution do hereby declare a State of National Emergency.

IN WITNESS HEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the Republic of the Philippines to be affixed.

Done in the City of Manila, this 24th day of February, in the year of Our Lord, two thousand and

GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO President Republic of the Philippines
To see Proclamation 1017, click here.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The Alipin is Not a Slave

Now that I have spent the past few hours perusing through the relevant chapters of not only Looking for the Pre-Hispanic Filipino (as recommended by Dominique/Idiot Savant), but William Henry Scott’s two other books; Slavery in the Spanish Philippines and Cracks in the Parchment Curtain and Other Essays in Philippine History, I am even more convinced that there is no such thing as factual knowledge claims and objective truths.

Far from arriving at the same conclusions as Idiot Savant, I read an entirely different insinuation from this American historian. Which really goes to show that we are all colored by our own individual mental/ideational maps. Which probably means it’s pointless to argue this point at all, because we not only see eye to eye, but see through different kinds of eyes entirely.

I think I see where Dominique might have made his conclusion about the existence of the alipin sa gigilid class and the contemporary culture of dependence. In the chapter entitled “Oripun and Alipin in the Sixteenth Century Philippines” of LPHF, Scott concludes:
"Nowadays however, the progressive economist or social scientist might label their class. Noting that they supported a sea-raiding elite with pretensions to royalty and personal interests in maritime trade, he would recognize them as “the masses.” The Visayan oripun and Tagalog alipin, in short, were the Filipino people (1992: 101)."
However, far from equating in our minds the European concept of “slave,” of person-as-property, Scott actually goes to great lengths to differentiate the Visayan oripin and the Tagalog alipin from the person-as-property, or worse, the useless, lazy, dependent waiting for the next meal from his master.

First, the Filipino alipin was “a man in debt to another man. His subordination was therefore obligatory, not contractual: the other man was technically his creditor rather than his lord…(93).” This highlights the difference from the known European concept of slave at the time. For detailed difference of the Spanish concept of slave, see Chapter 1 of Slavery in the Spanish Philippines (SSP).

Scott then goes on to describe different kinds, functions and levels of being alipin depending on the cause/gravity of indebtedness. There are half and quarter slaves. There are the napaaalipin (voluntary indenture) as opposed to naaalipin (foricible indenture). There are also various ways for the alipin to pay of his/her debt.

Another claim consistent in all three books is the upward mobility of the alipin class. There are varied way for the alipin sa gigilid to graduate into the aliping namamahay or even higher. The aliping sa gigilid is considered the lowest of all ranks, literally stationed at the hearth. The aliping namamahay is one that pays tribute to his master, but can live in his own house and gain his own living tilling his own land.

The distinction between the aliping namamahay and the aliping sa gigilid is only one of division of labor. One worked the fields while the other performed domestic chores. “The terms gigilid and namamahay, therefore, more accurately distinguished a man’s residence than his economic status…(97).”

A crucial statement made by Scott may have caused Dominique to make the conclusion that aliping sa gigilid were dependent and merely relied on their master for dole outs.
“They were members of their master’s household who, unlike namamahay householders, ate out of their master’s pot. They were as dependent upon him as his own children, and from this circumstance arose his moral right to sell them. In actual practice however, he rarely did… (96).”
While this statement may be easily interpreted as the total dependence of a slave to his master, I take it to mean Scott’s emphasis on the difference of being alipin-as-person-indebted and slave-as-property. From being a thing owned, to a person with whom one has a complex social relationship.
“The main sources of alipin sa gigilid recruitment were the children born in their master’s house, not infrequently natural children by his own alipin. (96).”
This implies that master literally treat their alipin as their own children because they grew up in his household.

This complex relationship is further highlighted in SSP:
“Two particular aspects of Philippine slavery attracted Spanish attention, and the first was its apparently arbitrary nature. Besides taking captives in raids, powerful datus seized men as slaves for minor infractions of rules they themselves decreed…The second aspect was the lightness of its demands. An Augustininan friar reported in 1572 that, ‘because Pedro is as good as his master, they eat together from the same plate…so what the indios they call slaves suffer in these islands isn’t really slavery, for they only do what they want without their lord or master forcing them to do more than they feel like doing (12-13).”
So what kind of slave does as he pleases? One that has an extremely lax master?

If master-slave live in one house and eat the same food, can one conclude that the master-slave relation is a complete misnomer? Is Scott implying a complex social bond mid-way between family and non-family ties? One characterized by “utang na loob (debt of gratitude)” that may be “gintubos (paid off)” in the future?

Finally, and going back to conclusions of dependence and laziness, Scott writes:
“The members of this non-oripun elite ruled, administered, fought or traded according to their roles and opportunities, but they all had one thing in common—they did not produce their own rice. Oripun were the basic producers in society. By their labor in fields, forests and fishing grounds they produced foodstuffs for local consumption or exchange in domestic markets, and by their exploitation of natural resources and handicrafts, they produced the export products marketed by non-oripun (LFPF, 99-100).”
This goes against the mistaken notion that the alipin is dependent on dole out. Scott actually states it is the other way around.

Now let’s just reiterate what was earlier said, but now with an established context:
Nowadays however, the progressive economist or social scientist might label their class. Noting that they supported a sea-raiding elite with pretensions to royalty and personal interests in maritime trade, he would recognize them as “the masses.” The Visayan oripun and Tagalog alipin, in short, were the Filipino people (1992: 101)
If Scott’s agenda hasn’t been made crystal by now, let me state what he writes in the chapter entitled “Filipino Class Structure in the 16th Century” in Crack in the Parchment Curtain (1982):
“All these details which distinguish Tagalog from Visayan social structure would appear to reflect an intensification of agricultural production, a decrease in slave-raiding activities, and an increase in the power of the ruling class. And, in retrospect, consideration of the details which portray the societies themselves would appear to present, in a single century, cameo versions of those stages through which the economic determinist usually pursues the course of human history across three millennia (126).”
And if you do not know what he means by economic determinist, it means Marxist.

Is Scott implying that the march of history, the coming of the Spaniards and the gradual destruction of social bonds of pre-colonial/pre-capitalist Philippines made way for the pre-requisites of a capitalist society: intensification of agricultural production, increased differentiation and power of the ruling class and the complete and total disenfranchasiment of former lunch-mate and almost-family, the "alipin"?

Can we then, in turn, make the claim that the destruction of these social bonds led to their reconfiguration, "bastardization" if you will, into what are now perceived to be unsavory values? Utang na loob being one?

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

In a Wowowee State of Mind

I came across this piece on the Wowowee tragedy through Torn and Frayed. I laud Idiot Savant for taking an unpopular explanation to the tragedy. He claims that it is not extreme poverty that caused people to line up outside Ultra for days, he says it is "the Wowowee state of mind."

Also, those who had resources enough to wait it out for days couldn't have possibly been that poor.
"The people who massed at Ultra had alternatives. To be sure, not very attractive ones, but they had alternatives nonetheless. Hungry people do not sit around for three days in a festive atmosphere waiting for a ticket to a game show; they go out looking for food."
He then looks to link this kind of value system, one that "banks on patronage and entitlement, that thrives on false hopes and dependency, and that feeds on the simple, immature sense of good and evil in the universe at the same time disregarding the nature of actions and consequences" to the mentality of the "alipin" a pre-colonial "caste system" that he says survived the Spanish era and continues today.

While to some extent, I agree that Wowowee's audience couldn't have been that poor, after all they could afford TV sets, what is "poor?" If we do not eat thrice a day, are we "poor?" If we eat thrice a day, but have nothing but rice and talbos ng kamote, are we not "poor?" Do we need to be in an extreme state of malnourishment, ribs showing and faint from hunger to be "poor"? In a mediatized society that constantly feeds us with all kinds of wants and needs to achieve the "good life," you and I could be poor.

While those people had enough provisions to last them three days and could afford not to "go out looking for food," this does not discount their varying states of desperation. The fact that they are desperate yet "festive" is a well-evolved coping mechanism, something we Filipinos are known for.

Idiot Savant is right in claiming that it is an "insane value system." What he does not says is it's a value system that is "insane" from his view. For those people, what they were doing and the value system that prompted them to do it, was completely rational. We are, after all, calculating humans. In the end, all we want is to survive. For those people, a few days chit-chatting with your neighbors under the sun while awaiting the main event, was just part of their ordinary struggle to survive. Idiot Savant implies, why don't those people just go out and work? Work hard? Work harder?

But poverty isn't merely a state of mind, it is a social condition. Contrary to little "nuggets of wisdom" we, the educated folk, have been taught since birth, poverty cannot be overcome by simple hard work. An ambulant vendor can work 15 hours a day every day for fifty years and still die with nothing to show for. And the "good life" these days mean that in order to be happy and fulfilled, we need a lot of things to show for.

Poverty is social because it does not mean anything divorced from the environment. Poverty is social because it is relative. Poverty can be measured by a sense of lack. And when we see people in our vicinity having many things that give them happiness, why should we begrudge ourselves of these essential elements of the good life?

But then if we were born into the wrong end of the spectrum, what an uphill battle it will be for us to achieve the means to buy the good life. We would need to be superhuman, extraordinarily ambitious, extraordinarily cunning to break free of the limitations of our birth. Limitations including; risk of malnutrition growing up, sub-standard public education, pressure from family to work at a young age, and most constraining of all, overcoming the "Wowowee state of mind." This is the most difficult because it means having to go against everything you've learned since birth. Things your parents taught you, and their parents taught them, to survive.

"Wag kang masyadong ambisyoso! Mapapaso ka lang." (Don't be too ambitious or you'll get burned).
"Dapat alamin mo kung san ka lulugar." (You should know your place)
"Magdasal ka na lang." (Just pray)
"Hindi tayo pababayaan ng Diyos." (God will not let us come to harm)

Nobody chooses to live in the socially-created conditions of poverty. But because we live in a world of never-ending scarcity, this kind of poverty is inevitable. Nobody chooses to be "unpoor" either. Contrary to our bourgeois value system, it is not a mere choice. It is necessary, it serves a function. So Idiot Savant and I should thank our lucky stars our lot in life means we are able to look out our 20th story windows and survey the Makati skyline and rail about the dastardly aspects of the human condition instead of living it.


Edited to add:

In response to comments by Dominique/Idiot Savant and Torn.


Thanks for the response to my response. I agree with some of what you said in your earlier post. What I do not agree with is causation. And maybe, your use of terms.

I don't see how the "alipin mentality" caused the Wowowee tragedy. First, assuming that the alipin value system survived the colonial period, could it have done so essentially unchanged?

Second, how could you discount 400 years of "colonial rule" and the consequent value systems resulting from the social structures created at the time and the interaction of agents of history? For example, how does the concept of an all-knowing God, one that monitors your each and every move change your values? How does the inate, natural superiority of caucasians change your values? How does a State, previously unconceived of in the pre-colonial Barangay system, the supreme authority above everything and everyone you see change your values? How does the concept of property, of exclusive ownership of land for example, change your values?

My point is, you cannot claim that "the pre-Hispanic class system is still with us" and say that this is the cause of poverty. Even I will not venture to enumerate the causes of poverty in this country (although I could). I could read and think and study it for the rest of my life and still be unable to make such statements.

Third, what I object to the most is the thinly veiled condescencion in your post.

It is evident when you say:
"Let's face it: these people are not like you and me. We live in one world, they live in another. No, they're not bad per se. In fact, they are capable of suprising displays of tenderness and childlike simplicity at times. They just have a grossly distorted value system. It's that value system that places material well-being ahead of everything else."

I'm reminded of this scene in Leondardo di Caprio's film "The Aviator." His character Howard Hughes was having luncheon with Katharine Hepburn. He was so crass as to talk about business and money-making during the meal. Hepburn says "We don't talk about money at the table" or something to that effect. Howard replies, "You don't talk about money because you have it."

Let me ask you, when your survival means getting your grubby little hands on some cash for the day or trying to feed your family on your P300 minimum wage, wouldn't you put your material well-being ahead of everything else as well? To hell with "common" decency, damn courtesy and niceties, fuck kindness?

Yes, these kinds of values, as you say, stem from something. But not the pre-colonial caste system, not the alipin mentality. It stems from values created in the past few centuries, it stems from values created at this moment. And values do not spring out of nowhere like mushrooms. They do not linger unchanged for centuries either. Values, or "little nuggets of wisdom" or "common sense" stem from our realities. As you say, theirs is a different world. Theirs is a different reality. And so, they must create values to match their lives. Shouldn't we be grateful that our reality is so much more comfortable than theirs? And so we can afford not to talk about money, we can afford our little niceties, we can afford our kindness.

Maybe we should just dispense with safe terms like "alipin" or "caste system" because they mean nothing today compared to loaded terms such as "peasant," "urban poor" or "class system." Let us call a spade a spade.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

In God We Trust?

There is a God. And do you know how I know there is one? She likes toying with me. Has God become more maniacal in her quest to play my life? It looks like it. Because lately the downs are becoming more and more like mind-fucks that the ups bring relief rather than joy.

In the past few weeks I've had to look myself in the mirror and choose my life over another's. The decision was terribly easy to make. I'd made plans to end that life. But when the time came to finally do the deed, God decided she was just funning with me. So now, there is relief and I haven't yet become a murderer.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

We Want In on the Action!

The Danish toons were published months ago, but certain European newspapers republishing them has caused a world-wide spark of varying reactions. In the age of Internet, something this big, involving transnationally-shared values, cannot die down before it has made the tour of the globe.

Not to be outdone, Filipino-Muslims have joined the fray. The Inquirer writes:

MUSLIM outrage over controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad reached Makati City’s business district yesterday morning.

Some 600 men, women and teenagers from various Islamic communities in Metro Manila demonstrated in front of the PBCom Tower on Ayala Avenue, which houses the Royal Danish consulate.

The hour-long protest action included the burning of a Danish flag. But like two earlier protest actions elsewhere in the metropolis, the Makati rally ended peacefully.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Pinay Named UN Global Security and Disarmament Adviser

Congratulations are in order for my former prof, Carol Hernandez. Azteeeeegers :)

Breaking news from the Inquirer:
UNIVERSITY of the Philippines professor Carolina Hernandez has been invited to sit in the body advising the United Nations secretary general on global security and disarmament.

Hernandez, the political science professor who helped investigate the December 1989 coup and the July 2003 Oakwood mutiny, was appointed for a renewable two-year term, according to a letter sent Jan. 20 by UN Secretary General Kofi Anan.

The 64-year-old Hernandez said she has accepted the appointment.

"I am both flattered and intimidated by the appointment," she said.

Hernandez will fly to New York to formally accept the appointment and be introduced at the opening of a three-day session of the Advisory Board for Disarmament Matters this month.

As a member of the 22-person advisory board, Hernandez will advise Anan on arms limitation and disarmament and serve the board of trustees of the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research.

The board meets twice a year for a three-day session each in New York and Geneva.

Hernandez is joining the UN body in a private capacity, not as a government representative. It is a non-paying job, but the UN takes care of transport and hotel expenses.

Anan's letter did not say how Hernandez came to be chosen. It said the advisory board was composed of "high-level personalities with knowledge and expertise in the field of disarmament and international security, drawn from governmental and non-governmental circles around the world."

Hernandez graduated cum laude with a degree in foreign relations from the UP.

She studied political philosophy at the Duke University in North Carolina and also pursued advanced studies at the State University of New York in Buffalo.

There, she wrote a paper on civil-military relations in the Philippines and its implications for the country's political development, which found its way into the hands of martyred opposition leader Benigno Aquino Jr. who was then living in exile in Boston. Aquino flew to San Francisco, California, in April 1983 to meet Hernandez.

Aquino cited Hernandez's paper when he reported on the atrocities of the Marcos regime before the US congressional committee headed by Democratic Representative Stephen Solarz.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Dying To Play

I googled "dead game show stampede" and got 3 full pages of news items from around the world. The tragic story this morning was newsworthy enough for CBS, CNN and Reuters. Where in the world do people die to play a fucking game show? In the Philippines.

Because poverty is so ingrained and inescapable, people think a TV game show will rescue them from their misery. And what irks me the most is, the Lopezes are making money out of this desperation. And they're raising water costs for worsening service. I know because I'm unfortunate enough to live on the Maynilad zone instead of Manila Water and we've had pieces of shit literally flowing from our faucets for the last year and a half. And they have the gall to raise power rates to pass onto consumers the costs of their inept management. I often wonder if this family has had a lot of death threats lately. It certainly isn't difficult to imagine.



Isinilang na kamalayan sa kanduangan ng pamantasan
Blangkong papel na nagtaglay ng sari-saring tala
Mayroong dagliang nalimot at agad na inayunan
Mayroong naglaon, lumawig, nawala.

Murang kamalayang umusbong at lumago
Sa pagitan ng mga guro't kamag-aral
Sa kalagitnaan ng katotohanang lumulukob
Lumuluob at nananatili sa apat na sulok

Ang kamalaya'y nasagi ng mga katanungan
Pilit nag-usisa ukol sa mundong umiinog
Ano'ng aking pagkatao? Bakit ako'y ako
Sa daigdig na naghihintay na ako'y lamunin?


Mula sa mga katanunga'y naglaro ang agam-agam
Lito, ako'y ako ngunit hindi.
And diwa'y isang buhay na bagay,
Hiwalay sa magulang, sa kamag-anakan,
Sa mga kalaro't kaibigan.
Hiwalay sa akin, sa aking kapaligiran.

At dahil ako'y hati sa dalawa, ninais ng aking malay
Na sa mundo'y pumalibot, maglakbay.
Nagmasid at nalunod sa lawak ng daigdig.
Anong saya at ligalig ang dinulot ng kalayaan.
Itinangi ng aking kabataan ang ganitong paglalayag.
Lahat ay maaari pagkat gising ang malay.


Ngunit ang diwa'y muling magbabalik
Sa kanlungan ng katawan
Pagkat kailangan nitong mamalagi sa ugat
Upang mabuhay.
Anong sakit at pait ang pilitang panunumbalik
Ang malay ay tumatangis na muling sasanib sa katawan
At doo'y magmumuni-muni, maninibago
Sa bigat.

Susubukin ang layong kaya nitong buhatin ang pasanin
Na s'ya namang manlalaban.
Ang tunggaliang ito'y mapait ngunit kailangan.
At sa kalaunan, sa katagalan ang dalawa'y magpapang-abot rin.
At mag-iisa. At magniniig.
Isang gising na malay sa natutulog na daigdig.

Pinoy Wins Digital Canvas Awards

My friend muffin won the Digital Canvas Awards, the wordlwide adobe photoshop competition. It is the first competition of its kind, pitting all users of photoshop, at any level, around the world. He must've bested tens of thousands of entries.

Aside from $2,500 worth of prizes, Muff muff will be sent by Photoshop User magazine on a dream assignment to Paris, France. The magazine is providing roundtrip airfare, hotel accommodations, hotel transfers, and daily expenses for the winner, and an assistant of their choice, for this world-class assignment.

They’ll be on assignment for five days as they design the artwork for a cover of Photoshop User magazine.

Talented mofo. And he can't spell worth shit :)

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Podcast 4: Manila Driving

Follies of driving in Manila. Click here!